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The goal on day 1 is to provision a single box that will be the core of the environment. If you're plnning to do 64 bit, make sure this box supports hardware virtualization.



CentOS 5.x is a no-brainer if you're planning a Linux production environment. Rebranded version of RHEL. http://www.centos.org


The free server version has everything needed to start. You can always migrate to GSX/ESX later if better management tools are needed.


RPM Repository

Your developers will complain bitterly about having to work in the dark ages if you make them use the languages supplied with CentOS 5. The easiest way to address this is to backport RPM's from Fedora 9.